IDG News Service - A U.S. judge on Friday overruled a jury verdict and dismissed a case against a Missouri woman convicted last November in a cyberbullying case that led to a teenager's death, according to published reports.
U.S. District Court Judge George Wu granted a defense motion for a directed acquittal of Lori Drew, 50, who was convicted last November on three misdemeanor counts of unauthorized computer access. After reviewing transcripts of the case, Wu overturned the jury's verdict, saying that if Drew were found guilty then anyone who violated MySpace's terms of service could also be found guilty of a misdemeanor, according to reports in the Los Angeles Times and other news sites.
Prosecutors had argued during the trial that violating the terms of service of the social-networking site in order to harm someone else was the legal equivalent of hacking a computer.
A jury in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California last November convicted Drew of taking on a false MySpace identity and taunting a 13-year-old neighbor, Megan Meier, who ultimately hanged herself.
Drew was convicted three counts of illegally accessing a computer system by creating a MySpace account under an assumed name. The jury acquitted her on a felony charge and a count of conspiracy.
She was accused of setting up a MySpace account along with two other people using the name of "Josh Evans," who was supposedly a teenage boy, for the purpose of luring Meier into an online relationship in 2006. Drew and the others sought to get Meier to discuss Drew's daughter online with the fictitious boy. After a month of flirting, "Josh" ended the relationship on Oct. 16, 2006, with Meier, and one of the three who created the persona told the teenager that the world would be better off without her. Meier hanged herself the next day in her family's home in a St. Louis suburb. The Drews lived on the same block.
Prosecutors in Missouri investigated the matter, but found that Drew had not violated any state laws. However, the case was pursued by the U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles, which indicted Drew for accessing MySpace servers illegally. MySpace is based in Beverly Hills, California, so the case was heard there.
The case has drawn a lot of attention, as well as criticism from groups and legal scholars who contended that the government was misinterpreting the U.S. antihacking law to prosecute Drew.
This state transportation department uses computer science students from a local university as programming interns, and everyone is happy with the arrangement -- until one intern learns how to bring down the mainframe.
- IT Certification Study Tips
- Register for this Computerworld Insider Study Tip guide and gain access to hundreds of premium content articles, cheat sheets, product reviews and more.
- Changing the Way Government Works: Four Technology Trends that Drive Down Costs and Increase Productivity
- This paper discusses four technology-based approaches to improving processes and increasing
productivity while driving down department and agency costs.
- Path Selection Infographic
- Path Selection Infographic
- Hyperconvergence Infographic
- A wide range of observers agree that data centers are now entering an era of "hyperconvergence" that will raise network traffic levels faster...
- Preparing Your Infrastructure for the Hyperconvergence Era
- From cloud computing and virtualization to mobility and unified communications, an array of innovative technologies is transforming today's data centers.
- How WAN Optimization Helps Enterprises Reduce Costs
- If you wanted to break down innovation into a tidy equation, it might go something like this: Technology + Connectivity = Productivity. Productivity... All Government IT White Papers
- Cloud Knowledge Vault Learn how your organization can benefit from the scalability, flexibility, and performance that the cloud offers through the short videos and other resources...
- LIVE EVENT: 5/7, The End of Data Protection As We Know It. Introducing a Next Generation Data Protection Architecture. Traditional backup is going away, but where does this leave end-users?
- On-demand webinar: "Mobility Mayhem: Balancing BYOD with Enterprise Security" Check out this on-demand webinar to hear Sophos senior security expert John Shier deep dive into how BYOD impacts your enterprise security strategy...
- Mobile Security: Containerizing Enterprise Data In this on-demand webinar, Fixmo's Lee Cocking, VP of corporate strategy, explains why Apple-ization trends like mobility and "bring-your-own-device" (BYOD) are driving the...
- Endpoint Data Management: Protecting the Perimeter of the Internet of Things Not surprisingly, "Internet of Things" (IoT) and Big Data present new challenges AND opportunities for enterprise IT. Teams need to harness, secure and...
- All Government IT Webcasts